Battery technology is always improving, especially in this driven day and age. With a
huge spike in technological advances in the last decade or two, as well as the drive for environmentally friendly products, it is no surprise that the “green” initiative has reached the motor vehicle world in the ways of the electric car and bikes. With reduced emissions and cheaper costs, this is the way of the future to be sure.
Here are five emerging, albeit some known, battery technologies for electric cars.
Lithium-ion batteries are currently used in almost all electric cars, and it’s likely that
they will remain dominant into the coming future. Several manufacturers, including Tesla and Nissan, have invested heavily in this technology. In these batteries, positively charged lithium ions travel between the anode and the cathode in the electrolyte. They boast a high cyclability – the number of times the battery can be recharged, while still maintaining its efficiency – but a low energy density – the amount of energy that can be stored in a unit volume. Lithium-ion batteries have gained a bad reputation for overheating and catching fire, so manufacturers have not only worked to make them more stable but also developed many safety mechanisms to prevent external harm if a battery were to malfunction in this way.
Solid state batteries traditionally offer stability, but at the cost of electrolyte transmissions. The solid-state battery, which uses sulfide superionic conductors, shows off as a superior battery – a battery that can operate at super capacitor levels to completely charge or discharge in just minutes. This not only makes it ideal for cars but also allows for a much safer battery unit. The solid-state unit should also be able to work in as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius and up to one hundred, an ideal solution to the vast range of environments cars are subjected to today.
Metal-air batteries have a pure-metal anode and an ambient air cathode. As the cathode is usually, the heaviest element within the battery, having one made of air is a huge advantage in the design. There are many potential metal candidates that could be applied in this model, however, lithium, aluminum, zinc, and sodium remain the most popular choices. Most experimental examples use oxygen as the cathode to prevent the metal from reacting with CO2 in the air because capturing enough oxygen in the ambient air is a major challenge. It is worth mentioning that most metal-air prototypes have problems with both the number of times the cell can be recharged, as well as the lifetime of that cell.
Graphene batteries are seen as the future of the power cell, especially when considering the electric car industry. One company has developed a new battery which they have named Great, this battery could offer electric cars a driving range of up to 800 kilometers on a single charge. Graphenano, the company behind the development, says the batteries can be charged to full in just a few minutes. It can charge and discharge 33 times faster than its lithium-ion counterpart. Discharge is crucial for cars when considering torque, the better the discharge the faster the car’s acceleration off the mark. The capacity of the 2.3V Grab at as huge with around 1000 Wh/kg which compares to lithium ion’s current 180 Wh/kg.
Sodium-ion batteries have been used in laptops for ages. This battery uses a standard design that means it can be placed in laptops and even work in electric cars like the Tesla Model S. The exact method of build and how it works are being kept secret, but the 6.5cm battery can manage 90 watt-hours per kilogram, making it comparable to lithium-ion but with a 2000 cycle lifespan, which should be improved over time.
In this fast-moving work of mind-boggling ideas and creation, battery technologies are ever growing, ever developing areas, driven by the “green” world. With such amazing growth and a huge push to degrade our carbon footprint, it is no surprise we have seen this time off inspired innovation.